A Casebook for the Study of
Canadian Business History
Support Canada's History in other ways (more)
by Joe Martin
University of Toronto Press, Toronto, 2009
384 pp., $39.95 paperback
Joe Martin’s Relentless Change is a casebook for business students interested in competitive strategy and organizational-change management. It is also a unique historical account of how thirteen significant Canadian business events have influenced the country’s development.
In the book’s introduction, Martin explains that sustainable economic growth is influenced by four variables: political systems, entrepreneurship, financial systems, and managerial capacity. Canadian history frequently delves into the first two, but rarely explores the others — presumably because there are fewer stories to tell or lessons to teach.
Relentless Change challenges our preconceptions, beginning with the very first study, by Robert M. McIntosh, on the Bank Act of 1871. This section provides an engaging history of early banking systems in Canada, while another study looks at the more recent evolution of a system that has become a model for the rest of the world.
The book examines key decision-making moments over 150 years of Canadian business history, including events at the Hudson’s Bay Company, the CNR, Eaton’s, Inco, Confederation Life, and present-day oil sands company Canadian Natural Resources Ltd.
Martin works closely with several other writers, blending well-researched historical introductions with a style that draws readers in as active decision-makers. It’s a different approach to history, but well worth the read — even if you aren’t looking to complete your MBA.
— Deborah Morrison (Read bio)
Deborah Morrison is the Publisher, President and CEO of Canada's History Society and of Canada's History magazine.